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Satellite library service for Winlaw not a done deal

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
January 12th, 2011

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

The new satellite library once slated for Winlaw might not materialize in the Slocan Valley community, says Nelson Municipal Library’s chief librarian.

June Stockdale said it wasn’t clear in the aftermath of the referendum last October that the service should always be in one location.

Although a pilot library service project was done in Winlaw two years ago, other people in other areas of the valley thought they would like to have something as well, said Stockdale.

“We decided to proceed with a strategic planning process which will incorporate that (service) as one of the components to be addressed,” she said.

The strategic planning process, led By Cathy Scott-May, will chart a course for the library through a five-year term.

However, the library has already implemented earlier openings on every day of the week — 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. — they are open, and they have put in two extra fulltime staff members (for a total of nine) to manage the workload they were not able to before, and handle the influx of new users from the rural areas.

And they are already seeing an increase in people coming through the doors, said Stockdale. The library has set up an extra computer to manage memberships and it has been in constant use.

In the month of November the library had its busiest month ever, circulating 20,000 items — the increase coming right after the referendum passed in Regional District of Central Kootenay southern Area H and Area F.

“We only have 44,000 items in our library, so, to have almost half of those items circulate in one month, that is unprecedented. It’s also very unsustainable,” she said.

To create a sustainable situation the library will be working on building up the collection. There are three people in charge of collection development — in adult, children and teen sections — with $90,000 allocated to new materials. That development goes on continuously throughout the year.

In all, the library will now receive around $15,000 from the Province (estimated) and $140,000 from the RDCK. That RDCK money leveraged $38,000 from the grants-in-lieu money the City takes in from BC Hydro.

That makes around $200,000 in extra revenue for the coming year for the library, said Stockdale.

“We were ‘stop gapping’ before, trying to keep the place propped up. Now we can build a sustainable model to work with,” she said.

Public survey

A forthcoming public survey could also determine if the library starts to open on Sunday as well. But the issue of parking still hasn’t been adequately tackled. Residents of the North Shore identified parking as a barrier to library use.

A partial first step has been to put in 30-minute meters in front of the library, replacing the 15-minute ones. As well, the library has requested there be a bus stop near the location for those coming from the North Shore.

Slocan City

Slocan City will be part of the strategic planning process.

Slocan councilor Hillary Elliott has contacted the library to be included in the planning and see what their options are for service with Nelson.

“Right now they are a little pocket amidst Area H. We are definitely in discussion with them, but no resolution or direction is set,” she said. “We want to include them too.”

With a small, community library, Slocan will likely find a way to supplement what they already have with service from Nelson, said Stockdale.



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